The History of Christmas Traditions

Dec 20, 2017

Wednesday, we're talking about Christmas and the bountiful customs that accompany it. Just why do we do stuff like wrap presents, hang lights, and drink eggnog? And why is it so darn commercial these days? (Hint: it's always been that way.)

Christmas is the time to come together. It's also the time for drinking. And eating. And a story about an elf in a flying sleigh. Christmas is a lot of things to a lot of people in a lot of different places. But, says historian Judith Flanders, all those things are far more central to the story of the festive season than religious worship. In a new book, Flanders unwraps the fascinating history of Christmas past and present to explore the origins of the traditions that wreathe it in myth.

Judith Flanders is a historian and the author of several books on the Victorian era, including The Invention of Murder and The Victorian City. Her new book is called Christmas: A Biography [Independent bookstores|Amazon].